Chatroom (2010)

Director: Hideo Nakata
Writer: Enda Walsh
Based on: Enda Walsh’s play
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard, Hannah Murray, Daniel Kaluuya (and Ophelia Lovibond in a very small role)

William (Aaron Johnson), a very troubled teenager, opens up a chatroom he calls Chelsea Teens! and is quickly joined by four other teens: Eva (Imogen Poots), Emily (Hannah Murray), Mo (Daniel Kaluuya) and Jim (Matthew Beard). All of them have their dark secrets and William immediately starts to exploit that fact and them and continuously pushes them towards the edge, just waiting for someone to break.

Chatroom is not a particularly good or well thought out film. The cast is promising but that’s about all – and far from enough to make the movie worth seeing.

The movie starts off with how William sets up his chatroom and physically represents that with an actual room in a house full of different rooms. Which is a nice idea (though not terribly creative), but they soon abandon the logic of chatrooms for the logic of houses with rooms and you get people standing around and chatting in the hallways and the police disbanding one chatroom with one character struggling to get out of the room because they’re between him and the door? Since that was the only halfway clever thing in the movie, abandoning it really wasn’t a good decision.

But it isn’t the movie’s only problem. The biggest things they’re struggling with are the characters (they just don’t really make that much sense) and the plotting (subplots come up and are dropped quite at random and none are actually resolved). Which is not a little to struggle with.

The five teens are played by some really promising actors and I would have loved to see them work in that constellation with a better director and a way, way better script.

But their talent can’t stop the movie from alternating between “ridiculous” and “completey forgettable.” And in the end it just isn’t impressive.

Summarising: Unless you really have a thing for Aaron Johnson (like I admittedly do), skip it.


  1. ha, i really have that thing for Aaron Johnson also, but that isn’t the only thing i liked about the movie. i love it for its capability to seriously be disturbing. i thought the interplay between virtual and real life was well delivered and the dark aspects and issues of the characters well developed. the director might have worked with a low budget, the scenes are not demanding but then again, it does not take from the attention for the happening.
    but i did think, the ending was a bit short of inspiration.

    • It’s been a while since I saw the film so I have to trust my judgement from back then that I didn’t see much of worth in it. But it sounds like you liked it a lot better than I did in any case!

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